Not disagreeing with you but what matters most to me is the reliability for the 8 years or so after the warranty has expired. That's why I don't pay that much attention to "initial quality" ratings.In the auto industry, that "short-term" is measured in quality, not reliability. Reliability is a longer-term perspective like you described. Most people confuse a quality rating for a model year, with some subjective review of "material quality". So if you're looking at automotive awards, etc.. and they talk about the first year quality, its a way of saying there were few repairs needed in the short-term. It's also a way of indicating how well a car is built. If it's built well, you shouldn't have to bring it back for repairs often or at all.